Design experiences can provide valuable opportunities for learners to improve their understanding of both science content and scientific practices. However, the implementation of design-based science learning (DBSL) in classrooms presents a number of significant challenges. In this article we present two significant challenges, bridging the design-science gap and overcoming time and material constraints, and a strategy for addressing them through software design in which explanation-construction scaffolding integrates with modeling and simulation. We present two software systems (SIMCARS and SHADE) developed based on our strategy and guidelines for integrating them into DBSL practices. We present a pilot study (involving SIMCARS), the findings of which support the potential of our technology for responding to the identified challenges. A follow up study (involving SHADE) is presented which shows the affordances of our technology for improving the quality of classroom discourse, suggesting the potential of our strategy to enhance collaborative understanding and social construction of knowledge in DBSL environments.
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